We all have a personality, it is the core of who we are and it affects everything we do. Like many things, our personality has both strengths and challenges. Our personality strengths used effectively, help us achieve our success. Our challengers, including our over used strengths act as derailers and get in the way of our success. So how do we know when a part or parts of our personality are limiting our potential and getting in the way of our success? It begins with self-awareness. As Aristotle once said, “knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
In Psychology Today, Douglas LaBier, Ph.D.’s blog post “Why Business Leaders Need to Build Greater Self-Awareness,” he contends that “self-awareness is crucial to leadership” and that “the infrastructure of successful leadership vision and behaviors is heightened self-awareness about one’s motives, values, and personality traits.” Without self-awareness you cannot understand your strengths and weakness, let along leverage those strengths or shoring-up those weaknesses. So how does one go about increasing their self-awareness? Well, there are a number of ways, from self-reflection, journaling, informal feedback, 360 surveys and personality tests (i.e. DiSC, Motivators, Emotional Intelligence, Myers-Briggs) to name a few.
However, increasing your self-awareness does not magically improve one’s success. It is the actions and strategies one puts in place to modify their behaviors to better match the needs of the people and the situation. For instance, if you are in a sales or business development role and have a preference for introversion (versus extroversion) it would be wise to develop strategies that leverage the strengths of your introversion, such as more one to one meetings than large networking events. Imagine gaining better insight into how your preferences guide your decisions – what you look at and what you tend to avoid considering when making a decision. Self-awareness gives you the power to be a better you.
Increasing self-awareness brings another advantage as well. It helps you understand other’s better. As you learn more about your personality you also begin to learn more about others. Without self-awareness it is difficult for you to understand and develop others – a critical skill in leadership. Deepening your understanding of others and adjusting your style to meet the needs of others, increases your effectiveness and success.
People have been studying personality for thousands of years; why not start learning more about yours today.